Is Apple Pay a Safe Alternative to Zelle?

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Welcome to Ask Clark, a column designed to answer your financial questions, by money expert Clark Howard.

Is Apple Pay Safer than Zelle?

Lisa from Washington: “I’ve been using Zelle for years now, and I am freaked out. Is Apple Pay a safe alternative?”

Clark’s Take on Whether Apple Pay Is a Safe Alternative to Zelle

Clark says: “It’s a different kind of tool, but Apple Pay is a well-thought-out safe alternative.”

It’s no wonder that a user may be “freaked out” using Zelle. Inside the Zelle app, there is no way to request a refund. You can cancel a payment only if the recipient is not enrolled in Zelle.

Not only is Apple Pay a safe alternative to Zelle, but there are some key differences between the two.

Apple Pay vs. Zelle: Key Differences

Apple PayZelle
Owned by AppleOwned by Early Warning Systems LLC, a consortium of big banks
Allows payment to merchants and peer-to-peer payment through the Apple Cash featurePayment app allows peer-to-peer payment only
Payments can take a day or so to processInstant payments

If you do use Zelle, Clark recommends that you use it only when paying someone you know, due to the payment app’s limited protections.

To hear Clark’s full take on this question, listen to the segment:

Do you have a question for Clark? Use this form to ask him! And remember that you can listen to the Clark Howard Podcast at any time here.

If you have a question but don’t want to go on-air, contact Clark’s Consumer Action Center for free money help.

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